Chronicles of a Fledgling Filmmaker: Serious Motivation

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If you’ve got dreams, start chasing them now.

If you’re reading this column on the day that it’s published, that means it’s Thursday, which normally wouldn’t be anything special to write about except for the fact that on this particular Thursday, I am (hopefully) on my way to recovery in a hospital room. I mentioned in my luck column a few weeks back that I get tumors every now and again that have to be removed. Guess what? Over the course of the past week it was discovered that I have yet another growth that needed to be removed asap, so as of yesterday, I’ll have undergone some decently invasive surgery (again) to get that taken care of.

Why am I telling you this? I assure you it’s not out of some need to collect pity comments or statements from people wishing me luck, but rather to motivate my fellow dream-seekers. This one’s actually a pretty simple and fairly common cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true: life’s short, guys. It’s short and unpredictable, so don’t wait until it’s too late to start knocking things off your bucket list. If you’ve got dreams, start chasing them now.

It was about ten years ago when that concept first began to sink in for me. My first tumor was a growth roughly the size of a baseball taking up residence in my liver. There was a long period of time when I wasn’t sure if it was benign or whether, at the age of twenty-four, I was about to step into the ring with the Big C as my opponent.  For the first time in my young life I was facing the concept of my own mortality, and it scared me not because I was afraid of dying, but because I was afraid I might die without having actually done anything. I hadn’t left a mark at all, anywhere, nothing to prove that I had existed in this world. On top of that, I hadn’t touched any of the things on my personal bucket list. I was going to die without having gotten a chance to really live.

As it turned out, the tumor was not malignant, but it still had me facing the type of surgery that left me forever with a scar across my torso that makes me look like I survived an autopsy. A week in the hospital, two months of at-home recovery, and a slow start back into the working world later, and I found my priorities had shifted just a bit. Granted I didn’t decide to dive straight into my film career right then and there, but it did motivate me to get back into writing again, to start publishing things online where I could get feedback and improve, to insert myself into those fandoms where I could meet people (a move that eventually lead me to the blogger job, which was an important step to bringing me to where I am now).

Now here I am, ten years later, undergoing the eviction of another organ squatter of the same frightening size (thankfully having housed itself in a less difficult-to-reach area of my insides this time around), and while I was blessed with learning right away that it’s another benign creature, there’s still always the possibility of events turning south during the removal procedure. I don’t feel quite the same regrets this time as I did last time, though. I’ve traveled to places I wanted to go, I’ve met people I never dreamed of meeting before, I made the move to the big city and feel as though I’ve done well for myself here so far, and I managed to film my own short; but, all that being said, I’m not done yet.

So now come the new regrets and the fears. I’ve traveled, but not anywhere out of the country. I’ve written nearly one hundred fanfiction stories, but I’ve never published anything purely original. I pretty much wrote an entire show series, but it’s still caught up in contract negotiation hell. I shot my own film, sure, but it’s been sitting on my laptop in editing limbo ever since. Still, after all this time and effort, haven’t left my mark.

For me, I’m treating this as yet another wake up call, another reminder that life. is. short. I want to be able to come back next week and tell you guys, as I’m recovering at home on my couch, that I’m jumping back on my bucket list and getting things done, but I can’t honestly promise that for certain. None of us can ever be certain when it comes to rolling the dice on our lifespan timeline. So my advice for the week is this: Don’t get cocky, don’t get lazy, and don’t press what little luck you’ve all been blessed with. Most importantly, don’t let any excuses hold you back. If you have a dream you need to follow, start on it now, because there’s always the chance that “tomorrow” will be too late.

Note: Alex is okay! She's currently recovering from surgery at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia.